For­mer Speaker, eth­nic MPs push sol­i­dar­ity through lit­er­acy

The Myanmar Times - - News - SWAN YE HTUT swanye­htut@mm­

IT’S time to stamp out il­lit­er­acy and strengthen peo­ple’s knowl­edge of the Myan­mars lan­guages and lit­er­a­tures, MPs have been urged. For­mer Amyotha Hlut­taw Speaker U Khin Aung Myint, propos­ing a mea­sure to re­duce il­lit­er­acy, said ac­cess to higher ed­u­ca­tion should be broad­ened through­out the coun­try, and eth­nicmi­nor­ity lit­er­a­ture and lan­guage­learn­ing tools should be de­vel­oped.

Par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion should be paid to the coun­try’s more re­mote re­gions, us­ing in­ter­net to over­come trans­porta­tion dif­fi­cul­ties, he said.

U Khin Aung Myint (USDP; Man­dalay 8) told the Amyotha Hlut­taw on Au­gust 5 that the gov­ern­ment should “con­sider a spe­cial pro­ject to re­duce il­lit­er­acy, [so that stu­dents can] ac­cess higher ed­u­ca­tion, and to de­velop eth­nic lit­er­a­ture for all eth­nic races.”

The for­mer Speaker stressed the need to im­prove op­por­tu­ni­ties for hill com­mu­ni­ties, long con­sid­ered to face re­stricted op­por­tu­ni­ties be­cause of their re­mote­ness. In­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions are now ad­vanced to the point where these prob­lems can be over­come, he said.

Though it was dif­fi­cult to as­sign teach­ers to re­mote re­gions, it would be pos­si­ble for ra­dio sta­tions to broad­cast ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams su­per­vised by the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion to en­sure ef­fec­tive dis­tance learn­ing.

“Na­tional sol­i­dar­ity is the key to Myan­mar pol­i­tics. Each suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ment has had to strug­gle for it, as armed groups were stag­ing re­bel­lions. Though there were ne­go­ti­a­tions and cease­fire agree­ments, there is no guar­an­tee that the fight­ing will not go on,” he said, adding, “Only if all na­tional races are united will the risk of fur­ther armed con­flict van­ish.”

The Speaker pro­posed that trans­la­tion ser­vices be ex­panded and dic­tio­nar­ies and en­cy­clopae­dias com­piled in mi­nor­ity lan­guages, Myan­mar and English. Li­braries should be es­tab­lished to en­cour­age lit­er­a­ture’s spread.

In re­sponse, U Jay Yaw Wu (NUP; Kachin 1) told The Myan­mar Times af­ter the hlut­taw ses­sion that the Na­tional Unity Party had sub­mit­ted to the hlut­taw a pro­posal to im­prove eth­nic lit­er­a­ture in the for­mer gov­ern­ment’s term. “In Kachin State, we printed books in six lan­guages, in­clud­ing Jingh­paw, La­won and Lisu. They were also taught in school in 2013-14.”

U Kyaw Ni Naing (USDP; Kokang) said Myan­mar lit­er­a­ture and lan­guage schools should re­ceive pri­or­ity over the study of eth­nic lan­guages in their re­gions.

“On Fe­bru­ary 9 last year, civil war broke out in Kokang. It emerged that our peo­ple can’t speak Myan­mar. That is a great pity. It’s not just that they are not fa­mil­iar with the lit­er­a­ture, they can­not even speak our lan­guage. How can they talk to the Tat­madaw? No won­der there is con­flict,” he said.

Though many Kokang stu­dents ma­tric­u­lated with distinc­tion, they had to leave Kokang to study. Myan­mar-lan­guage schools should be es­tab­lished in the Kokang re­gion, he said.

U Zone Hle Htan (NLD; Chin 3) said, “We are still wait­ing for by-laws for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion Law. When will this law be put into ef­fect?”

Ac­cord­ing to the 2014 cen­sus, the rate of lit­er­acy among the over15 pop­u­la­tion is 89.5 per­cent. Of the over-five pop­u­la­tion of 45,807,770, 6,468,807 were un­able to ac­cess ed­u­ca­tion, while 20,692,609 had re­ceived pri­mary, 9,916,261 mid­dleschool, and 4,699,781 high-school ed­u­ca­tion.

Those awarded diplo­mas stood at 115,002, 3,226,966 had col­lege or uni­ver­sity de­grees, and there were 134,585 post­grad­u­ates, rep­re­sent­ing 0.3pc of the pop­u­la­tion. Vo­ca­tional train­ing was re­ceived by 60,270, and 493,489 had re­ceived other forms of ed­u­ca­tion. – Trans­la­tion by Emoon and Khine Thazin Han

Photo: Swan Ye Htut

An MP in eth­nic at­tire is in­ter­viewed in Nay Pyi Taw.

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